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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What can be a suitable itinerary for Joshimath?

Vineet Sharma DEC 10 2012
0 people found this answer useful Useful ?Yes

The town of Joshimath is quite small and can be covered within a day. It is the base for many pilgrimage visits, trekking and skiing. Here we give you an itinerary of the places in and around Joshimath.

  • Day 1

    Start your day early and visit the famous Narsingh Temple. The Narsingh temple is dedicated to one of the avatars of Lord Vishnu. During winters, the Badrinath Temple is closed, and that is when Lord Badrinath is kept in this temple. During this time, devotees throng to worship at the Narsingh Temple at Joshimath. The distinctive feature of the deity is that its left wrist is very thin and is getting thinner by the day. A legend goes about this wrist, according to which the day the wrist separates from the arm, the route to Badrinath would get closed permanently by a major landslide. This will take you an hour.

    Walk to the
    Uttaramnaya Matha after visiting the temple. This popular tourist attraction is located within the town and is highly revered by the Hindus. Located near this matha is the Kalpavriksha. This is the oldest tree in India, around 1200 years old. This place served as a meditation spot for the great 8th century explorer Adi Shankaracharya and thus, holds unsurpassed and unparalleled significance. The cave where he lived is also situated near this Mulberry tree. The tree is as old as the famous Badrinath Temple and attracts thousands of devotees each year.

After this have lunch at any of the dhabas or the in-house restaurants of the hotels. In the evening you can take strolls on the winding road and enjoy hot tea at the roadside stalls. After a day of sightseeing you must be tired, so, go to your hotel and rest for the night.

Day 2

There are many places around Joshimath which can be visited from day 2 onwards. You have three options:

  • Option 1 (Auli)

    You can take a cable car ride to
    Auli, which takes around half an hour. Auli is famous for skiing all around the world. You can visit Auli anytime of the year barring the monsoon season, but if you want to enjoy the eternal bliss of snow then visit Auli from December end to March. This place has attractions like the highest man-made lake, views of the beautiful Mt. Nanda Devi and the other mighty peaks of the Himalayas. If you come to Joshimath, you have to try skiing in Auli, its truly mesmerizing. Facilities for skiing are available from GMVNL with certificate courses available, ranging from 4 days to 14 days that include food, stay,  ski gear charges and guide.

  • Option 2 (Badrinath Temple and Mana Village)

    You can go to the famous
    Badrinath temple. Leave early morning for a smooth visit. Around 43 kilometres away from Joshimath, this temple is is located in a small plain area surrounded by snow-capped hills at an altitude of 3133 meter. Popularly known as ‘Jai Badri Vishal’, there is no entry fee to the main temple and there is a queue arrangement to handle the devotees during peak seasons. This temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and is one of the four Dhams of Hindu religion. Considered to be one of the holiest Hindu temples, the temple is also one of the 108 Divya Desams, holy shrines for Vaishnavites. Since the temple is in deep Himalayan region, due to extreme weather conditions it is open for only 6 months every year, from April to November. The main deity of the temple is Lord Badrinarayan, sitting in meditative posture, whose idol is made of black Saligram stone, around 1 metre in height. Timings for vehicles to start from Joshimath to Badrinath is 6.30 am, 9.30 am, 11 am, 2 pm and the last batch at 4 pm.

    Near the temple, there is a village named
    Mana, which is the last village on Indian territory, after which China starts. You can easily come here after offering your prayers at the Badrinath temple. The village is quite small, with a population of about 600 people. You can find a number of small shops selling hand-knitted sheep wool sweaters in various colours and sizes. These are very warm and are a good buy from the village. Within the village, you will find the cave of Saint Vyas, where, it is believed that he dictated the Mahabharata and Lord Ganesh wrote it. The whole trip to Badrinath and back will not take more than a day, so, you will be back in Joshimath by evening.

  • Option 3 (Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib)

    You can drive to
     Govindghat, which is around 26 kilometres from Joshimath. From there start a trek to Govind Dham, around 13 kilometres. This takes around half a day as the way up is quite steep and can be challenging. Take rest for the night at the few accommodation options available at Govind Dham. Next day start for either Valley of Flowers or Hemkund Sahib. Just take a look at what all you can do at these places.

    UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valley of flowers is at a distance of 3.5 kilometres from Govind Dham. Enjoy the vast expanse of flowers in the valley surrounded by snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Renowned for its meadows of endemic alpine flowers, the valley of flowers is rich in varied flora including primulas, marigold, orchids, poppies, daisies and anemones carpeting the ground, while the Sub-alpine forests of birch and rhododendron cover parts of the park's area. This place is known for its rich collection of fauns as well. The best time to visit this place is July to September.

    Govind Dham or Ghangaria, Hemkund Sahib is 6 kilometres. Hemkund Sahib is dedicated to Guru Gobind Singh Ji (1666–1708), the tenth Sikh Guru. Even though it’s the revered site for Sikhs, tourists of all religion come here as the beauty and serenity of this place attracts all. There is a lake next to the Gurdwara which is formed from the melted Himalayan Glaciers. The water in the lake is thus, in its purest form, considered sacred and can easily be consumed. Behind the Gurdwara, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Lakshman. The ideal time to visit this place is from May to September. The path to the Gurudwara is very steep and being on a high altitude, lacks adequate oxygen, so, people with breathing problems should be a little careful. On your way up, after 3 kilometres of trek, you will find an alternative way to go up, which is the flight of 1000 stairs, a shortcut to the next 3 kilometres. But, a word of caution, the stairs are quite steep and slippery, so if you don't have a firm grip, avoid this and go by the normal path.

Now that we have given you information about the tourist places in and around Joshimath, what are you waiting for? Come and enjoy your trip to this beautiful hill station.

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